Posts Tagged ‘3d prototyping’

The Future of 3D Printing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Since the early days of science fiction, people have known that eventually our path of technological evolution would lead us toward machines that could create any physical object based on specified parameters. The birth of 3D printing in 1986 was our first real step toward achieving this vision and as companies realized the tremendous savings when compared to traditional prototyping techniques, many new branches of research quickly opened up. Though the first 3D printers could only use one particular type of plastic, the demand for other materials led to techniques for rapid prototyping with metal, glass, and clay, as well as other types of plastic and hardened resin.

The first commercially available 3D bio-printer was recently announced by a company called Invetech as being capable of printing tissue and organs at the cellular level. One of the most exciting spin-offs of 3D printing is a project called RepRap, which is open-source, meaning that all its blueprints and results are publicized and can be used by anyone freely. RepRap is the first known attempt at building a self-replicating machine, the ultimate goal being to have RepRap print more RepRaps. Having undergone several revisions already, RepRap can now print all of its own plastic components and the research is currently being targetted at the printing of whole circuit boards.

Part of the project’s stated goal is to “enable the individual to manufacture many of the artifacts used in everyday life” for “a minimal outlay of capital”, so it’s not that difficult to see where a few more decades of research could lead. With the right supply of power cells and raw materials, a single RepRap could concievably be given the blueprint for an entire building and then print up as many copies of itself as were needed to construct the building blocks and put them in place. Some have even speculated that advanced versions of RepRap will eventually be able to improve their own design, essentially beginning a path of AI evolution.

Eliminate guesswork in your next design project with Rapid Prototyping

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If you’re a design engineer the last concern you want to have when your product is going into production is, “Will it work they way in which it was intended?” While oversights in design can be rectified post-production, it’s costly and timely – not to mention a lost opportunity for your company.

No company wants to lose market share due to a delayed product release, which could have been avoid had they chosen to elect rapid prototyping services to improve the design process.

The benefits of rapid prototyping services is quite simple: Design engineers can improve the accuracy of their products’ design by creating a 3D prototype model that will allow the various concepts to be tested before it’s manufactured and introduced to the marketplace.

But despite its growing popularity Rapid Prototyping technologies is underutilized by many industries that could otherwise benefit from its use. The biggest benefit of creating rapid prototype models is that it can produce a prototype model quickly, and at a low cost.

Wonder how quick the turn-around actually is for creating a rapid prototype?
More often times than not, manufacturers who offer rapid prototyping services can produce a model in hours, where it use to take days or weeks. Because of the expediency and efficiency of this service, it can decrease the typical time it takes to get a product to the marketplace up to 80%.

When you’re ready to minimize the risk and time delays in your next product design, consider contracting a rapid prototyping manufacturer—they are quickly becoming a valuable resource that design engineers can’t live without.

Surgical Innovations provided by 3D rapid prototyping technologies

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Due to advances in 3d Rapid Prototyping technologies, doctors are now making house calls, but not to a patient’s home. Rather they are visiting 3d rapid prototyping labs where they can see their new medical instruments become prototypes before it’s used during a surgical procedure.

Over the past few years, 3D rapid prototyping technologies have made a tremendous impact in the medical community, more specifically on surgical techniques.
Because doctors are becoming more involved in the rapid prototyping process, it improves the quality of the design of the medical instruments often used for complicated and sensitive surgical procedures.

How the prototyping process works is straight-forward.
The 3d rapid prototyping technology allows for the extrusion of a thermoplastic material and deposits it layer-by-layer to form a 3D model. It then undergoes evaluation by the doctor (surgeon), onsite, who can evaluate the medical instrument first-hand, testing its working properties, such as grip, movement, flexibility, etc. During this phase the medical instruments can be refined more readily by the engineers to meet the demanding specifications that the doctors require.

With surgeons now being part of the development process, it eliminates the costly back-and-forth communication between the medical instrument manufacturer and the end-user. This practical approach of involving the end-user during 3D rapid prototyping facilities the development process, as it has helped engineers in delivering medical instruments with the surgical precisions required to ensure a successful outcome.

The results are undeniably more rewarding for both sides, as all the revisions of the medical instruments are completed during the schematic process, which results in a higher-quality end product and offers financial advantages for the manufacturer.

Staying ahead of the competition with rapid prototype manufacturing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

In today’s competitive and economically challenging environment, the time it takes to introduce a new product to the marketplace has an enormous impact on a company’s ability to stay ahead of its competitors.

Anyone in business knows that introducing a new product even one day later than your competition can have negative consequences that can affect a company’s market share and bottom line.

However, Rapid Prototyping manufacturing allows companies to quickly move a product from the design engineers’ drawing board into the hands of its customers that meet both their needs and their price point.

Due to its efficiency and flexibility in the product development process, rapid prototype manufacturing assists manufacturers in reducing their “design-to-product” expenses. With rapid prototype manufacturing, companies can shorten development cycles; thereby allowing them to respond to the increasing demand by its customers for more improved and innovative products—who also expect a fast turn-around.

During the prototyping phase, engineers can easily identify problems in design such as functionality, durability, and quality. Rapid prototype manufacturing refines the manufacturing process and removes design and production hurdles that otherwise may be been impossible or economically unfeasible in the past with more conventional prototyping methods.

Utilized by commercial industries from aerospace to automotive, rapid prototype manufacturing is adopted by those design engineers who are want opportunities to enhance the design of their products. The advanced technology of rapid prototype manufacturing has provided tremendous strategic advantages for companies who recognize that they need to reduce expensive production processes, improve product quality, and gain market share, in order to stay competitive.